India and Bangladesh are set to lock horns on November 3 in Delhi for the T20I series but the air pollution has thwarted tour preparations.
India cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir is concerned about the soaring air pollution in Delhi and has drawn the attention to the pressing matter, referring it's a bigger issue than staging a match.
The smog has become a common occurrence in the subcontinent and the start of winter harbingers a thick layer of smog particles in the densely polluted cities.
"It is a far serious issue than having a game of cricket or any other sports matches in Delhi. For us I think people living in Delhi should be more concerned about the pollution levels rather than the cricket match that happens," Gambhir told ANI
Gambhir has suggested shifting the venue and there are talks between senior officials of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for arranging indoor practice for the teams in place of outdoor drills, amidst deteriorating air quality in Delhi.
"You want to play in an environment which is suitable for everyone and players as well. If the pollution levels are really high then obviously you can think of having an alternate venue," added Gambhir.
This is not the first time pollution has hampered cricket. Smog masks were worn by Sri Lanka players during their December 2017 Test with India in Delhi which brought the air pollution issue to the fore.
The air quality is marked under 'unhealthy' this month in the sprawling metropolis of India. One factor that exacerbates the problem is the holy festival, Diwali.
This five-day gorgeous and one of a kind harvest festival is commemorated in pomp of fireworks but the firecrackers downside is that they pollute the air.
Fireworks during Diwali contribute to smog in Delhi ©AFP
However, farmers' use of fire to clear land for ploughing, brick kilns use of old technology, exhaust fumes from automobiles and irresponsible industrialisation are the major contributory factors to the menace of air pollution
According to a research by Greenpeace and AirVisual, the average air quality index of Delhi was 135.8 in 2018 - almost three times more than the level which the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers as safe.
The unprecedented use of fossil fuels has led to an increase in greenhouse gases emission, such as carbon dioxide, that also results in extra absorption of Sun's heat and that, in turn, warms up the Earth.
Other human factors that are aggravating the global challenge include rampant deforestation and over-reliance on fossil fuels to meet energy needs.